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Orlando cop reprimanded for provoking teens, teachers fear punishment for attending rally in Tally, and other news you may have missed

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Treasury Department will investigate Trump's 'opportunity zones,' including some questionable ones in Florida: The Trump administration's "opportunity zone" program was part of the president's 2017 tax plan and was designed to give tax incentives to rich people who invest in lower-income areas, but in reality, many of these tax breaks were instead given to our country's wealthiest chuds and their luxury pet projects that in no way help poor people. The Treasury Department's plans to investigate corruption within the "opportunity zone" program following numerous reports that many projects were completely bogus and benefited Trump's closest associates, Treasury Inspector General Richard Delmar told NBC News.

Former Orlando Police 'officer of the year' reprimanded for racism, attempting to provoke teens: Officer Jonathan Mills has received a verbal reprimand after video surfaced of the cop proceeding to "taunt, belittle, humiliate and even incite ... violence" against three teenagers – at least one of whom was Black – during an arrest in May 2019. Before this, he was verbally warned for an accusation of racism in 2016, and was hit with an excessive force lawsuit in 2017. And yet! He was named OPD's 2018 "patrol officer of the year." In the video, OPD Internal Affairs says, Mills can be seen grabbing one teen's hands and telling him he's never been in a fight, grabbing a teen's phone and throwing it to the ground, and attempting to goad a teen by saying "I hope he runs."

As Florida public school teachers rally at the state capitol, some fear punishment: Tens of thousands of Florida public education workers and their supporters gathered at the "Take on Tallahassee" Rally for Education outside the state capitol Jan. 13, the day before the 2020 legislative session began, to demand overdue hikes in teacher pay. Striking is illegal for teachers in the state of Florida, but teachers didn't strike – they took a day off to rally. Yet Billy Townsend of Polk County School Board District 1 shared on Facebook an email from the Florida Department of Education, in which the agency threatens to fine or even fire Polk County teachers who attended the rally. "Teachers have the right to, certainly, tell their lawmakers how they feel," Seminole State College chair Scott D. Howat told Orlando Weekly.

Orlando cop censured for using taser on teenage bicyclist: Orlando Police consider tasing someone on a bicycle excessive force, "except in cases of aggressive resistance." In May, Officer Peter Meier used a taser on a 19-year-old boy who was fleeing from him on a bike. The young man fell and skidded on the ground, as seen in body camera footage. For breaking OPD's force policy, Meier was punished with a written censure following an Internal Affairs investigation in October. Meier told investigators that he saw the teen, who was riding bikes with two other young men May 5 at Oak Ridge Road and Millenia Boulevard near the Mall at Millenia, pop a wheelie through the intersection. Meier said he flashed his patrol lights and called over the teens, but they rode away. In the body camera video, Meier can be seen catching up in his squad car. He got out near the teen, chased him for a bit, then tasered him off the bike and to the ground.

This story appears in the Jan. 22, 2020, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.


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